MINNEAPOLIS -- What mental mistake?
After making a costly error/brain fart in the series opener Friday, Starlin Castro got some atonement in the 10th inning Saturday.
Castro swung at the first pitch with the bases loaded and looped a single into center field to plate Dexter Fowler and Anthony Rizzo, giving the Cubs a 4-1 victory over the Twins in front of 40,066 fans at Target Field.
Castro admitted after the game it felt good to play the hero instead of the goat.
"Every day is a new day," he said. "You try to keep it going, keep your head up. ... When I started the game, I just put it out of my mind. Just tried to be aggressive.
"If I make an error, I make it and it's because I'm aggressive, not because I don't want the ball hit to me or I'm scared of making an error.
"I know I'm good and I know I'm better than that. I just have to keep my focus all game and try to make every play."
Fowler and Rizzo led the inning off with back-to-back singles and after Rizzo moved up to second on a throw toward home off a Kris Bryant fly ball, Chris Coghlan was intentionally walked to get to Castro.
Chris Denorfia later singled home Coghlan to add another insurance run.
"The thing I love is, regardless of how funky the game gets, our guys don't quit," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "They were ready to go right there at the very end."
Castro made the final out of the game, too, with a leaping snag of a line drive, a fitting conclusion to the game. The game-winning hit was also Castro's third over the last week-plus after a couple of walk-offs at Wrigley Field last weekend.
"I was really happy and pleased for him and us," Maddon said. "I thought there was no residue. He fielded his position really well today...and then that game-winning hit, again. He's done pretty well at that the last week or so."
Jon Lester did his job as a stopper, avoiding what could have been the Cubs' first three-game losing streak since the first week of May.
Lester was brilliant, striking out seven in 6.1 innings, allowing a run on three hits and three walks. The only blemish was a Kurt Suzuki homer in the second inning, a first-pitch fastball that Lester missed his spot on.
The Cubs avoided a potential disaster in the ninth inning when James Russell walked Twins DH Joe Mauer to begin the frame. Mauer then was called safe at second on a steal attempt, before a challenge showed that he came off the base briefly on his slide while Addison Russell held the tag on him.
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Two batters later, Torii Hunter lined a single to left center in what should have been the game-winning hit.
"Huge, huge," Maddon said of the successful challenge. "Really not expecting Mauer to run. ... We talked about it all camp, keeping the tag on the runner. Addison did, thus he's out. Very simple.
"It's part of technology, part of the new rules, but then you have to incorporate it technique-wise, which [Russell] did. You've gotta give Addison a lot of credit right there and you've gotta give our video guys a lot of credit."
The Twins ran themselves out of a couple possible runs, as Byron Buxton was gunned down in the bottom of the eighth trying to tag up and advance to second on a fly ball to center field.
That all set the stage for Castro's rebound.
"It just goes back to forgetting about what happened last night," Lester said of Castro's performance Saturday. "You move on and you show up today and whatever happened happened yesterday and you worry about today today.
"It's nice to see that from our young guys. Guys continue to grind, guys continue to battle. You would never know what happened yesterday when you showed up today. That was huge for us."